“I tried to visualise a future with children, but the image never came to my mind.”

Kat, 35, UK

After some serious deliberation and thinking, I feel confident and settled in my decision to be childfree.

Of course, when I look back – I realise this was something I’ve always known deep down. As a child I would always ask for stuffed animals so I could pretend to have a pet while my sister begged for dolls so she could pretend to have a child. As I got older I didn’t give much thought to motherhood, assuming I’d figure it out later. In my twenties I was in a relationship with someone I thought I’d marry and a late period led to a pregnancy scare. I remember buying a pregnancy test and feeling terrified. I tried holding my stomach, imagining what I’d do if the result was positive – could I be a mum? I knew in that moment, I couldn’t, and that if it was positive, I would get an abortion.

The test was negative and I was flooded with relief. I still thought I might change my mind one day, I just knew at that point I wasn’t ready. That relationship ended and in time a new one started. We’ve been together for six years now and throughout that time whenever the topic of children came up, we were both ambivalent – again, assuming we’d figure it out one day, but certainly in no rush. It wasn’t until my 35th birthday that I decided it was time to give it a bit more serious thought. I know now 35 is a slightly arbitrary milestone, but stories of fertility dropping off after this age rung in my ears. I was also starting to be surrounded by children as my sister and some close friends became parents. I saw the joy (and the pain) becoming a parent brought them and also began to explore what life could look like to be childfree.

I tried to visualise a future with children, but the image never came to my mind. I thought about the work I do, which I love, and knew that as much as I’d want to – if I had children I wouldn’t be able to give it the attention I want… and I fear I would resent this. I love slow mornings, being able to travel whenever I want, doing deep and creative work. I value freedom.

This was when I discovered the We are Childfree podcast. Listening to the stories of others who have made this choice felt revolutionary. It cemented my decision. Throughout all of this I was in conversation with my partner who, thankfully, also wants to be childfree. We both have nieces and friends with kids and with the time and energy that comes from a childfree life, we can support and nurture these families. We are excited for our future and the adventures to come.